P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts

  • Location: Brooklyn, New York
  • Web site: http://schools.nyc.gov/schoolportals/23/k156/default.htm
  • Principal: Martha Rodriguez-Torres
  • Assistant Principal: Oswaldo Malave
  • Featured teachers and artists: Janine Eckles, second-grade teacher; Leonore Gordon, visiting writer, Teachers & Writers Collaborative; Scott Pivnik, dance and movement teacher; Caren Plummer, visiting dance artist, Lotus Music & Dance; Kojo Plummer, visiting musician, Lotus Music & Dance; Goldie Rich, African strand team leader; Allison Sicuranza, first-grade teacher; Diane Thomas, first-grade teacher; Laura Parkhurst, first-grade teacher; Suzanne Ramos, first-grade teacher
  • Grades: K–6
  • Number of students: 752
  • Number of faculty: 70
  • Demographic information: Ninety-four percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Student population is 80 percent African-American, 19 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent other.

P.S. 156, also known as The Waverly School of the Arts, is located in a low-income Brooklyn neighborhood called Brownsville. It serves a student population of mostly African-Americans and Latinos. The school’s mission is to establish and maintain an environment that is stimulating, challenging, and nurturing. Parents and school personnel collaborate to foster a sense of well-being and growth among all children.

With a strong emphasis on individual, child-centered learning and ongoing student assessment, the commitment of the school’s faculty and staff to personal and academic growth has paid off with academic improvements, notably in reading achievement. Additionally, with funds from the Center for Arts Education in New York City, P.S. 156 enhances its curriculum with instrumental music, dance, and movement.

Close collaboration with local art partners who have specific expertise in multiculturalism and the language arts exposes students to a variety of arts organizations and activities. For example, Lotus Music & Dance provides traditional dancers, musicians, and visual artists from around the world to collaborate and team-teach with faculty. The Teachers & Writers Collaborative provides writers to work with classroom teachers in the use of creative writing across the curriculum. The local teachers’ union has established a Teacher Center to provide ongoing staff development to school staff in curriculum integration. These efforts encourage students to strive for excellence academically, socially, and emotionally.

Information provided by P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts. Current as of February 2002.